WWAP Deputy Coordinator Mrs. Miletto hosted on Rai 1, Sunday 28 February

“Access to clean and safe water is an essential human right, fundamental and universal, because it determines the survival of people, which is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. This world has a serious social debt to the poor who have no access to drinking water because that means denying them the right to life which is rooted in their inalienable dignity.” (Pope Francis, in the recent encyclical “Praised be”)
‘To give drink to the thirsty’ was the title of the episode on Sunday 28 February of the Programme ‘A Sua Immagine’ broadcasted on Rai 1. Invited were Father Alex Zanotelli, member of the Combonian missionaries in Verona and founder of Italian movements for social harmony and equality, and Mrs. Michela Miletto, Deputy Coordinator of the World Water Assessment Programme, the leading UNESCO programme on the assessment, monitoring and reporting on the status of freshwater resources worldwide and is tasked to inform policymakers and relevant stakeholders about the challenges and...

“Access to clean and safe water is an essential human right, fundamental and universal, because it determines the survival of people, which is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. This world has a serious social debt to the poor who have no access to drinking water because that means denying them the right to life which is rooted in their inalienable dignity.” (Pope Francis, in the recent encyclical “Praised be”)

‘To give drink to the thirsty’ was the title of the episode on Sunday 28 February of the Programme ‘A Sua Immagine’ broadcasted on Rai 1. Invited were Father Alex Zanotelli, member of the Combonian missionaries in Verona and founder of Italian movements for social harmony and equality, and Mrs. Michela Miletto, Deputy Coordinator of the World Water Assessment Programme, the leading UNESCO programme on the assessment, monitoring and reporting on the status of freshwater resources worldwide and is tasked to inform policymakers and relevant stakeholders about the challenges and opportunities faced by these resources globally. WWAP publishes annually on behalf of UN-Water the United Nations World Water Development Report, considered the most authoritative thematic review of freshwater resources in the United Nations System.

Mrs Miletto stated that “Access to safe water ensures health and hygiene, and eventually human dignity. In fact, the Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognizes the human right to water and sanitation and points out that it is indispensable for human dignity, and a pre-condition to the realisation of all other human rights. Water should be not only affordable and physically accessible, but also of good quality, meaning not contaminated by biological and chemical substances”. She explained that in Africa for example, water sources are often located far away, or it may happen that sources of water are nearby a community but they are  not  safe in terms of quality. It is in fact estimated that approx. 3.5 billion are the people whose right to safe water is not satisfied yet, and that one over three Africans do not have access to a toilet. 

In terms of gender equality, she observed that in many countries women are those that fetch water, often with their children. To get water for themselves and the family is a time-consuming and unpaid job, and girls often have to drop out of school to perform that task. Being those who fetch water for the household, women are definitely the most knowledgeable about water: where to find it, its quality and its availability. Unfortunately their knowledge is often not recognized, and they do not have prominent roles in decision-making for the use and management of the resource. 

Mrs Miletto informed that the world’s population is progressively growing and that by 2050 it will increase from 7 to 9 billion people, with a consequent growth of our needs. For this reason there will be an increase of food and energy production. If we will act adopting the “business as usual” modality, we shall expect water demand reaching up to  55%  by 2050, and a broader part of the world will live under water-stress and water-scarcity conditions.  We have to change our behaviour, and start managing water wisely, balancing water availability with the needs, including all the uses. If we manage water taking into account the direct linkages with the economic, social and environmental dimensions, we will reach a sustainable development of the world in full respect of the human rights.

The Deputy Coordinator concluded announcing that the United Nations World Water Development Report 2016 produced by WWAP will be launched on World Water Day -22th of March-, to spearhead reflections on the very timely theme ‘Water and Jobs’. This Report highlights how water is intrinsically connected with almost all our activities and jobs – 3 over 4 jobs are related to water – and reveals unforeseen implications between water and employment. This confirms once again that if we manage the freshwaters in an efficient way, including not only the distribution but also the treatment and re-use, we will be able to develop a sustainable economy with the creation of new jobs, while saving water.